July 27, 2012

The Battle of Britain and Indiana Jones

Everywhere you look, someone is talking about London.  After all, today is the start of the London Summer Olympics and two weeks of non-stop coverage from the city.  

Today, @RealTimeWWII began tweeting the 72 year old fortification of Britain.  Barrage balloons, barbed wire, and vigilant citizens were are part of the defensive plan to protect the island from a German invasion that seemed imminent, but never happened. 

British Volunteer observer wears the same bag as Indiana Jones
If you are following along with the updates, keep an eye out for members of the Home Guard.  These citizens were mobilized to set up defenses and keep watch over the country.  Due to the widespread use of poison gas in the first World War, guard members and troops were issued gas masks for fear of similar attacks.  Although gas attacks were comparatively rare during the Second World War (some say Hitler objected to it having been gassed serving in the great war), protective masks were carried throughout the entire conflict by troops on all sides. In the photo above from @RealTimeWWII, you can see this Home Guard member wearing his gas mask bag.  This small, squarish bag has a short canvas strap to be slung under an arm.

This style was used to outfit Indiana Jones decades later.  The short canvas strap was removed in favor of a longer leather one, but the bag is virtually unmodified as Indy carriers it throughout his film adventures.  Indy most often carries the MkVII bag that came out in 1940, but can also be seen wearing a the earlier MkVI bag in Temple of Doom. Thanks to the thousands of military and civilian personnel who were issued these bags, they are still relatively easy to find. 

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